How to Create an Action Plan for Retail Store Growth
A business that isn’t scaling is dying - at least that’s what most business leaders believe when it comes to the importance of business growth. New stores seem to struggle with high competition and oversaturated markets, which results in scaling difficulties. Some stores shift toward expanding their digital presence, but this is just the start.
Most business owners need to create an action plan for retail store growth.
In this article, we will show you how to build and implement a retail action plan and explain its benefits for your business in more detail. After reading this post, you should know how to resolve existing bottlenecks and pave the way to exponential growth.
What is an action plan for a retail store?
An action plan for a retail store highlights the specific steps necessary to achieve your goals. These plans typically cover the coming year, offering a timetable for each task, as well as a description of who will perform each task. This should also include a follow-up process to ensure your team does everything according to plan.
Several different types of action plans exist. How you’ll use each of these action plans depends on the department you will focus on. For example, an action plan for your marketing department will be different than the one you’d use for your sales team.
Different types of action plans
- Sales plan for retail stores. A sales plan communicates the store’s goals and objectives to its sales team. It offers strategic direction, outlines roles and responsibilities, and monitors the sales team’s progress. Hubspot has a great post that helps you create a sales plan from scratch.
- Digital Marketing plan for retail stores. A marketing plan outlines how retailers will reach consumers through the power of the web. These can involve community growth plans, advertising plans, organic traffic/SEO plans, and other digital marketing methods. Read more about internet marketing plans here.
- Marketing plan for retail stores. An online clothing store’s business plan should be sufficient when you only run an e-commerce store. However, most businesses run a physical store as well. This is where traditional marketing plans come in handy. These kinds of plans include more “offline” marketing options like local events, non-digital advertising, and in-store experiences. It is important to create such a plan even if your online boutique business plan drives most of the results in your marketing campaigns.
- Customer success plan for retail stores. This retail action plan ensures that your brand is offering continuous value through different forms of communication. These strategies are mainly focused on the customer service department but can expand to other departments that come in direct contact with the customer.
What kind of store needs an action plan?
Action plans can work in a variety of ways to ensure sustainable growth. However, certain stores will benefit more than others. The following types of businesses are great candidates:
- New stores. New businesses can easily lose focus of their most important objectives without a strategy. An action plan for retail store growth keeps new stores focused on the short-term tactics that will contribute to their long-term success.
- Stores with no online presence. Stores lacking an online presence can use an action plan to increase sales in retail. For example, a customer success action plan could focus on the different ways a physical store can promote digitally, without actually owning a website. This improves your store’s awareness and revenue potential.
- Stores that lost (part of) their business due to unforeseen circumstances. Whether your store has fallen victim to the Covid-19 lockdown measures, a natural disaster, or other unforeseen circumstances, an action plan can help you reclaim what you lost. For example, if customers are no longer coming in because of Covid-19, a retail store could plan to migrate (part of) their business to e-commerce solutions.
Content of the action plan for retail stores
Structuring an action plan is somewhat similar to the development of an academic research paper. You start with the objective, list the methodologies, show the results, and list the recommendations.
Start with an introduction (& abstract)
Since the plan may require authorization from several stakeholders, including investors, you should start by explaining what you are about to present, and possibly create a short abstract.
The introduction is simply the starting point that should illustrate two things:
- What the document is about
- What is in it for the reader
- (Optional) A short abstract of the document’s contents
When creating an action plan for retail store growth, you could write a great number of pages, some of which are not directly relevant to all readers. Therefore, giving a good overview at the beginning, followed by a detailed table of contents should help people navigate the process more easily.
Explain the main problem
By defining the main problem, you’re shedding light on what you aim to resolve. This is where you’ll show how this issue currently affects your business.
To adequately explain the problem, gather information to accurately depict the different ways in which it affects your current business performance. This can involve data on procedures you’re using, relevant workplace rules, employee actions, and more. For example, if you are writing an action plan to raise digital awareness as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, try to indicate how the less foot traffic has negatively affected your competitors (overall or specific examples).
Indicate the solution
This section should lay out the tools, methods, or resources you’ll use to offer a solution to the problem. You’ll explain what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. To make your assumptions reliable, try to back up your points with resources, case studies, and other relevant information. This step will look massively different depending on the department its aimed towards.
Continuing on our Covid-19 example, here you could point out that creating an e-commerce model could prove to be very beneficial since it has worked for many competitors and because data shows that online sales are increasing steadily in your location.
- This chapter should be further broken down into separate subcategories that will indicate the tactics you will need to use to achieve your objective.
- If needed, indicate the budget specifications in a detailed manner. You can later (in chapter 5) illustrate how the expected results justify the money you are asking for.
Allocate tasks and set deadlines
After providing an overview of all the tasks that need to be done, you will also need to indicate which team member or department will handle each task. At this point, it may be helpful to create Google Sheets that can track the progress that is made, especially when responsibilities span across different departments.
At this point, you will need to introduce preliminary deadlines for specific tasks. These can be more “high-level” objectives, and can later be broken down into more specific steps. Consider the attainability and relevance of each step. If the step seems overly vague or complex, try dividing it into two or three more manageable steps to make the tasks less overwhelming.
A useful piece of advice here is to create a template that is simple and easy to access by everyone. This can either be done through a common Google Sheet or a project management tool like Asana.
Set realistic targets
Based on your preliminary research and the plan you have created, it is now time to indicate the targets. One could say that targets are short to mid-term goals that can confirm a plan is working. You can set targets for each high-level task (e.g. month over month growth in signups), or you can create an overall goal for the complete action plan (e.g. increase revenue by 20% over 6 months). A combination of the two is possible as well.
Retail action plan example
At this point, you might be wondering how such a plan looks like. A template perhaps, or an example of another business. Truth is, each plan looks different. An action plan to increase sales in retail will look different than a promotional plan. At this point, we should offer a list of resources that can help you gather more useful information to help you craft an action plan that suits your needs.
- Are you looking for a sample action plan for retail store, templates or specific examples? Then make sure you check out this post.
- If you want a more detailed overview of the steps you need to follow to create an action plan for retail store (including diagrams), read this article.
Finally, get some more specific tips on crafting the perfect plan, by watching the following video:
This post gave a brief introduction to the “what”, “how” and “why” of creating an action plan for retail store growth. At this point, you should know the different types of action plans, which businesses need them most, and what they should contain.
In case you need to do some more research before you start writing your plan, make sure you check the resources we mentioned above.